Friday 16 March 2018


My butterfly year began among the Monarchs, Coppers and Yellow Admirals of Wellington – but that doesn't really count. Back in Blighty, it has felt like a long, long wait – it always does – but at last it's begun, the butterfly year proper: today I saw my first. Two bright male Brimstones were roving the ivy-clad railway embankment. Spring is on its way at last – though not before the Beast from the East comes roaring in again at the weekend...
March 16th is quite late for my first butterfly: last year my first sighting was a month earlier, and by this date I'd seen four species. In 2016 it was much the same as this year (March 14th) and in 2014 a week earlier, but 2015 began with the glorious surprise of a Red Admiral in Kensington on February 18th. Now that the 2018 season is under way, I'm hoping for the best year ever. I always am.


  1. Beautiful! Eighteen inches of fresh snow today suggests that such pleasures are still a few weeks away for me.

    I have spent some time trying to identify the butterfly in the final scene of All Quiet on the Western Front. At first glance, I thought it might be a Bordered Patch, a butterfly I saw thirty years ago during a hike in the Anzio-Borrego wilderness of Southern California. It’s range and relative prevalence fit my criteria. Not even close! Careful perusal of several guides to North American butterflies failed to reveal any likely candidates, even in the vast category known as “occasional strays into the Rio Grande Valley”. Yet the lovely creature doesn’t look like a prop person’s version of a butterfly either. A mystery it shall remain for now.

  2. I’m assuming, of course, that Milestone’s desire for verisimilitude did not extend to importing Belgian butterflies!

  3. Thanks Waldo, and I'm sure it wasn't anything Belgian - something tropical, I suspect. I wonder where they got it from.. Of course it might be a total fake, not a butterfly at all...